International Women’s Day 2021; celebrating women leaders

Read Time: 3 Min

This International Women’s Day we celebrate the women leaders across our network, asking them them about the leadership lessons they have learned during their career and the advice they would give to others now. 

Jayne McClure, CEO, Travel Chapter

Jayne McClure, CEO, Travel Chapter

What advice would you give to others at the start of their career? 

“I am always thankful that I learnt very early on in my career to not be constrained by my job description, to always think of things not only from my own point of view, but to consider how what I was doing impacted others. To always think where I could help further, whether that be to help others in my team or by managing upwards to make my manager’s job easier. Early on in my first job, one of my managers taught me that if you say you’ll do something, make sure you do, as there will be a lot of people relying on you, and I’d always give the same advice now.” 

What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

“To always be open and honest in your communications and to always have integrity in what you do and how you behave. As a leader it is so important to be an authentic and true version of yourself if you want others to trust you, believe in what you say and ultimately to be led by you.”

Susan Veness, CEO, 4ways Diagnostics

Susan Veness, CEO, 4ways Diagnostics

What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned? 

“Walt Disney said “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal” and I think that the shared focus on a specific goal and communicating that vision can often be the most motivating thing a leader can do.” 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? 

“The best advice I’ve ever been given was by a (very successful) Chairman of a company I worked for a number of years ago: “Don’t settle”!”

Suzanne Pike, Partner and Head of Origination, ECI Partners

Suzanne Pike, Partner and Head of Origination, ECI Partners

What career advice would you give to others? 

“Don’t be silent in a meeting because you don’t know the most in the room. You are there for a reason and asking insightful questions can sometimes add even more value than contributing ideas or opinions.” 

What’s the most impactful leadership lesson you’ve learned?

“Leadership and management are two very different things. You cannot be an effective leader if you are still trying to manage the day to day. It’s so important that you enable your team and give them the opportunities to take ownership and develop their careers too.” 

Joanna Swash, CEO, Moneypenny

Joanna Swash, CEO, Moneypenny

What does the role of leadership mean to you?  

“A leader should be the glue that keeps all your brilliant people motivated and moving in the right direction, celebrating and supporting when required, but delegating and empowering them to achieve personal and professional goals.”

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your career? 

“That no one is perfect, but recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is key. Without a level of self-awareness we cannot understand and empathise with others, we cannot communicate and we cannot empower them to be the best version of themselves.”

Kirsty Lancaster, Finance Director, CPOMS

Kirsty Lancaster, Finance Director, CPOMS

What advice would you give others looking to progress in their career? 

“Don’t be afraid of voicing your opinion, your views are just as valid as others. Also, make sure you listen. You can learn so much from others when you least expect it.”

What advice has changed your approach to life? 

“Not actual career advice, but something my yoga teacher said recently really resonated. Don’t focus on the end goal or outcome too much as then you miss out on the journey and that is where you learn the most about yourself. Make sure you enjoy the journey and don’t become too focused on the outcomes as often it can lead you on paths you never expected.” 

Find out more about Choose to Challenge this International Women’s Day. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.

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